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Cheers to books, wine and food

MILLBROOK — The Millbrook Vineyards and Winery opened its doors to host a free holiday book signing event on Saturday, Nov. 5. The event was heralded as the Sip and Sign, and it brought together 15 local authors from the Hudson Valley to sign copies of their books for attendees. The signing was complemented by wine from the Millbrook Winery and local gourmet food from The Pampered Cow.“We started the idea in 2007,” said Stacy Hudson, director of marketing at the Millbrook Winery. “I believe we were approached by Joanne Michaels. She’s also an author, and thought [our space] would be a nice venue for something like this.”The event showcased a diverse genre of books by renowned authors from the Hudson Valley. The authors present were William Alexander, Robert Sabuda, Brother Victor Antoine, Da Chen, Hudson Talbott, Shari Aber, Liza Donnelly, Hardie Truesdale, Scott Ian Barry, Nina Shengold, Jennifer May, Molly Ahearn, Brigit Binns, Joanne Lessner and Michaels.“There were two children’s book authors, one being Robert Sabuda, the king of pop-up books. He is nationally renowned for his books,” said Michaels, president of JMB publications. “There was also Hudson Talbott. His children’s books include ‘River of Dreams’ and ‘United Tweets of America.’ We have some humor; Liza Donnelly, a New Yorker cartoonist, who wrote, ‘When Do They Serve the Wine?’ and ‘Funny Ladies.’ ” Michaels continued that she wanted to include “Pandora Bottle,” by Joanne Lessner, at the event. It’s a fun suspense novel about the wine business. She did include Nina Shengold and Jennifer May’s “River of Words: Hudson Valley Writers,” which features interviews with writers from throughout the region.After the Sip and Sign, the focus shifted to the Art in the Loft Wine Label Competition.The Dutchess County Arts Council and the Millbrook Winery have been collaborating for 14 years through the Art in the Loft program. Through the council, 10 regional artists were selected to show their work in the loft-turned-gallery space at the Millbrook Winery. Those artists then competed for the Wine Label Competition, wherein their artwork gets printed as the label for a bottle of wine from the Millbrook Winery.Profits from the wine sales go to the artist and Dutchess County Arts Council. Voting for the winner of the wine label competition could be done either at the winery or online; it was open to the general public. “This event marries a lot of interesting things; I write the guide book to the region,” Michaels said. “The growing of the grapes, the drinking of the wine, the reading of the books — we have a rich culture in the Hudson Valley. I feel that combining the books, the wine and local food is a nice relaxing way to support local authors, enjoy the afternoon and go Christmas shopping at the same time.”

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